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Quest Means Business
Strong U.S. Jobs Report Spurs Wall Street Volatility; No International Consensus on Vaccine Passports; Chile May Achieve Herd Immunity By End Of June, Says President; Being An Airline Pilot In The Strange Days Of The Pandemic; Former Operation Warp Speed On Vaccines, The Trump And Biden Era And The Way Forward; E.U. Countries Splinter Amid AstraZeneca Disagreements
Aired March 05, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Today is one of those days that almost defined volatility in the market, a near 600-point swing for the Dow. We
are near the highs of the day. But look how it went. I mean, open job numbers and then the market was down and now back up again.
The markets and the events of Friday: U.S. jobs take a big jump in the right direction. Stocks are following suit.
The President of the Cleveland Federal Reserve is on our program tonight.
Cypress wants to open up vaccinated Brits or to open up to vaccinated Brits, I'll ask the Greek Tourism Minister, if he will do the same.
And France is backing Italian neighbors over sovereign shipments of AstraZeneca jabs to Australia.
We are live from New York, end of the week, Friday, the fifth of March. We've made it.
I am Richard Quest, and on the end of the week, I mean business, too.
Good evening, hours after the most hopeful jobs report of the pandemic and President Biden still warns that the labor market will slow without his
rescue stimulus package.
U.S. President and Vice President are meeting now with the Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen. It follows learning that the U.S. economy added
379,000 jobs in February. Now, that was way beyond expectations. January was also revised sharply higher.
Even though the unemployment rate -- the unemployment rate inched down to 6.2 percent from 6.3 percent, the country is still missing nine and a half
million jobs since the start of the pandemic. The President says a massive stimulus is still needed urgently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Without a rescue plan, these gains are going too slow. We can't afford one step forward and two
steps backwards. We need to beat the virus, provide a sense of relief and build an inclusive recovery.
People need the help now; in less than two weeks, enhanced unemployment benefits will begin to expire for 11 million people. At least seven million
kids don't have enough food to eat on a regular basis, 13 million people are behind in their rent.
And the rescue plan is absolutely essential for turning us around, getting kids back to school safely and getting a lifeline of small business, and
getting the upper hand on COVID-19.
QUEST: Now, the stock market all over the place as you saw. The Dow and the S&P are rallying after each dipping further lower. At one point, the
NASDAQ had once again gone down to correction, but it is now back up again.
Paul La Monica, a very strange sort of day, Guru, to understand. I mean, the market took fright at the jobs number, but I'm not sure why then it
would reverse back up.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, I think that we now have this tug of war, Richard, when you look at the economy, and you look at what's
happening in the bond market, and we heard obviously from Fed Chair, Jerome Powell yesterday as well, is good news really good news?
Or is it something more to be concerned about because the potential for inflation and having a central bank that probably wants to let the economy
run a little bit high and have the jobs market recover and not be so worried about nipping things in the bud, you know, even if there are
And I think that's that, you know, tension that we have with stock investors right now, but at least, you know, heading into the close,
investors are viewing good news as good news, which I think is an encouraging sign.
QUEST: The thing is, Paul, it seems as if the market hasn't listened to the Fed, first of all, Powell made it clear yesterday, I think, the rates
are going to remain low for a long time.
But even then, they have changed the symmetry of their inflation forecast and made it clear they will run above target inflation for some time, if
LA MONICA: Yes, I think that this is a theme that we've had with many Fed Chairs going, you know, back to Alan Greenspan. It happened with Ben
Bernanke. It happened with Janet Yellen, who is now the Treasury Secretary, and we're having it again with Jerome Powell that the Fed will say things
to the market, and they have increasingly, with each Fed Chair in the past couple of years, they've gotten more and more plainspoken and direct in
terms of telling the market what they're going to do.
And the market still seems to be stuck in this Greenspan-mode of trying to figure out the Fed speaking in code, and do they really mean what they say?
Powell is pretty blunt about what the Fed is going to do. They're not worried about inflation right now. So I don't think this is a case where
having a hot jobs number is all of a sudden a reason to run scared because you think the Fed is going to take the punchbowl away.
QUEST: Which arguably, is why the market rallied. Paul, have a lovely weekend. Good to see you, sir. Thank you.
Now, Wall Street can't make up its mind about this jobs report, as we were saying. The wild session that we're seeing, and the dilemma for the Federal
Reserve and Jay Powell.
It's really simple. On the one hand, the job numbers are better than expected. The latest sign the economy is on its way back, a massive
stimulus package would juice that recovery as the pandemic wanes.
On the other hand, a strong recovery backed by stimulus and ultra-low interest rates is raising some fears of inflation. Powell said on Thursday,
he is not worried.
Well, President Loretta Mester is the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and we're delighted, Madam President to have you with us
She is joining us from Philadelphia. Thank you for joining us.
Well, look. I mean, you heard that discussion there with Paul La Monica, I'm going to read your own words back at you. "We're going to be
accommodative for a very long time, because the economy just needs it to get back on its feet."
So what message do you take from what the bond market says, with rising rates? And the stock market takes with falling numbers?
LORETTA MESTER, PRESIDENT, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF CLEVELAND: Yes, I mean, so the bond market is, you know, reflecting I think the strength that we've
seen in some of the recent data, they're looking ahead, and they're positive. They actually have both real rates are higher and inflation
expectations in those bond yields are higher.
And, you know, today's employment report shows that things are moving in the right direction. But that said, we're still very far from our goals,
and of course, as you know, its maximum employment and price stability and we've given you forward guidance about we want to get above two percent for
some time, on the two percent inflation goal.
So again, I think it's sort of seeing the good data, looking ahead and saying, wow, we're going to see a nice second half of this year once
vaccines are distributed and going into the following year, but we have to get there first, and I think that's kind of what's going on.
And we also have to ease and then beyond that, make sure that the post- vaccination recovery becomes broad-based and sustainable.
And so from, you know, my point of view on policies, I think that's going to take sustained accommodation from the Fed for some time, and I also
think that, you know, it's important that we continue to support the economy until the vaccines get distributed in terms of fiscal support for
people in households, and State and local governments.
So again, it's really this relief until those vaccinations get distributed, and then once they are distributed, then, a regular kind of recovery can
happen, that then grows and becomes broad-based, inclusive and sustainable.
QUEST: And looking on your website, on the Cleveland Fed website, I mean, the update on the Fed funds rate on the basis of seven simple models, we
are talking about -- I mean, the latest number you had as a forecast from on the Fed Funds target of 2.22, in Q1 to 1.5, two years down the road.
Now so that, to some extent tells us we've got time on our side, but I also look at what's happening in your region in terms of jobs, and I wonder what
you think needs -- more needs, where the assistance needs to be to create more jobs in your region.
MESTER: Right. So we, you know, we talk to a lot of businesses and in fact, we had two advisory council meetings just over the past couple of
days where we bring in a lot of businesses to talk to us, and it's very clear that the small businesses in our region needed to have that support
from the fiscal policy packages that have come through to actually stay in business.
MESTER: Certainly, if you look at restaurants and all the high touch kind of contact businesses, they needed that kind of support. There are
businesses that, you know, work in schools, well, with schools closed, they're not able to do their business.
So there's a lot of businesses that really -- the relief is not stimulus, it's really relief to get us through towards the time when activity can
pick up again, and we can get back to some semblance of normal.
In low income areas, job growth there in our region, and across the country is well below where it was in February. High income jobs are back to where
they were last February, but not in the low income areas.
If you look in minority, and look by race and various ethnic groups, again, the pandemic hit those segments very hard, and there's nowhere near back to
where they were in February.
And the tragedy of this -- one of the tragic things about this is that after a 10-year expansion, we finally were beginning to see progress in
some of those areas that were, you know, really, chronically behind, and then the pandemic hit, and now, we've fallen back again in those areas.
So we need to have the recovery continue, become broader based and become sustainable, so we can get back to what the economy was beginning to look
like before the pandemic hit.
QUEST: The point you raise there, the danger is, as I understand what you're saying that although the numbers may tell us one story, the real
story could be worse in many -- in specific cases.
You know, we expect unemployment will drop down towards four percent again by the end of the year. Inflation may remain tame and be calm.
But within minorities and sectors of the community, it will be worse, and I don't know, since we were already facing digitization issues of
unemployment. What then do you do?
MESTER: Well, I mean, firstly, one thing to recognize is that even an unemployment rate, right, that falls is really composed of two things. It's
the number of unemployed, but it's also the labor force participation. Right?
And that is fine, you know, a lot during the pandemic. So right there, we're understanding the weakness in the labor market by just focusing in on
that aggregate unemployment rate.
So you have to look at employment population ratios. You have to look at by segment, because you want to be able to have a really good sense of what's
going on in the labor market. And the only way to do that is to look at this disaggregate data.
So that's the first thing, so you have to recognize various parts of the labor market, participation rates, employment population ratios, and by
segment in terms of high income, low income people, households, communities, to really get a sense of where the labor market is.
And then from the Fed's point of view, we want it to be, you know, maximum employment, but inclusive, right? So we're going to look broadly at various
measures to get a sense of how the labor market is doing and that will guide our policy decisions because, you know, Congress gives us a maximum
employment goal and an inflation goal, you know, price stability goal, and we're going to keep policy calibrated to make progress on those goals.
So it's really looking at the data in a disaggregate way to get a real sense of what's going on in the labor market. And of course, the Federal
Reserve Banks are, you know, distributed across the country. We engage with labor market people, engage with community development, people in the
community, so we have a better sense of what's going on out in those labor markets.
And that's going to be kind of the focus going forward is to look more broadly at what's happening than we might have by just looking at or
focusing on the headline unemployment number.
QUEST: Thank you for joining us, and look forward to talking to you again. Thank you. We will watch this closely. And of course, the Cleveland Fed is
an important part of that. Thank you, ma'am.
The idea of COVID vaccine passports gains momentum, as Cyprus prepares to open its doors to British visitors. After the break, the Greek Tourism
Minister whether Greece is going to follow and allow vaccinated tourists.
Also France says, it could follow Italy's lead and block vaccine shipments abroad, in a moment.
QUEST: Starting in May, Cyprus is to open its doors to British tourists who have received the vaccine. In a moment, I will ask the Greek Tourism
Minister whether his government is planning a similar measure.
It's the issue of vaccine passports. Again, and again, wherever we've looked on this week's program, this issue has been raised, and what we've
discovered over the week is that there's no consensus on what this passport would look like, what it would do, who would have it and what the benefits
it would accrue.
At the same time, everyone agrees something must be done to restart travel by the summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL SKJELDAM, CEO, HURTIGRUTEN: A vaccine passport will be crucial in order for the likes of us, border officials and guests to be able to travel
freely and safely and be welcome.
SHAI WEISS, CEO, VIRGIN ATLANTIC: There are many things that it needs to capture in the short run, of course vaccinations, but also pre-departure
testing information and all of that, you know needs to be put in an application in order to speed up even the border checks.
TONY CAPUANO, CEO, MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL: It's a little early to talk about where the notion of vaccine passports if you will, will go. I do
think vaccinations are the key to unlocking all the pent up travel demand that exists.
MOHAMED AL MUBARAK, CHAIRMAN, DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE AND TOURISM, ABU DHABI: It's all going to be about how easy it is for travelers and I think the
vaccine passports are just going to be a sort of checklist of what are the needs and the expectations from each airport from around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So there you have it from a cruise line, a hotel company, an airline and a tourism authority.
Cyprus is one of the most popular destinations for British tourists. Britons who have been vaccinated will be allowed to go to Cyprus a week
after their second dose. They'll have to wear masks and social distancing, of course. They will not have to quarantine or provide a negative test.
Another country said to be in advanced talks with the U.K. is Greece. According to the Ministry, before the pandemic, tourism and linked sectors
are nearly 21 percent of the Greek GDP. That fell by three quarters last year.
The highest number of visitors the country in 2019 came from Germany, the U.K., Italy and then France.
The Greek Tourism Minister, Harry Theoharis has called on the E.U. to urgently adopt vaccine passports. It's a call you've made, Minister many
First of all on the question of a bilateral agreement, say for example with the U.K., are you likely to do something similar as Cyprus? Are you likely
to negotiate a bilateral agreement, or at least make it clear that U.K. holidaymakers, you are vaccinated. Don't have to quarantine or test.
HARRY THEOHARIS, GREEK TOURISM MINISTER: Well, yes, Richard, this is the idea of the vaccination certificate. We don't like to call it a passport
because it doesn't mean that if you're not vaccinated, you cannot travel.
But yes, we want to spare people of the hassle of a quarantine or other problems if they are vaccinated, or they have negative tests, or they have
antibodies, meaning that they've gone through the disease.
QUEST: We are in serious danger -- we are in serious danger of compounding the lack of policy direction that we had during the first year of the
pandemic, unless, basically policymakers get together and come up with a common plan.
Now the EEC has come up with a green passport, as some idea; you've come up with your own travel pass idea. Are you hopeful that there'll be an
agreement between member countries?
THEOHARIS: Yes, we're hopeful that this idea that we push for with the Prime Minister and a lot of work in many fora. For example, in the U.N.
W.T.O., we push for that idea of the vaccine certificate to allow freedom of movement and it seemed to have caught on.
Basically, von der Leyen today, sent a letter to the Prime Ministers explaining the support behind the idea and how she is going to take it
We have initiatives within the E.U. in order to make the whole process digital, in order to build the trust network so that we can exchange
information at the border that everything is valid.
So yes, this is the way forward, and I think we're at the verge of the cusp of having this agreement that you mentioned before.
QUEST: Assuming that you do, what sort of summer do you predict, and the reason, we know there's a huge pent up demand, and I'm guessing at the
first whiff of opportunity, I mean, we know for the way EasyJet flights nearly booked out, when the British Prime Minister announced potentially
May the 17th as being their -- well, 11th is the opening date. What's your understanding of what demand will be?
THEOHARIS: Demand picks up. If there are two things that have happened, the first is that the vaccination programs must progress. So each and every
country as the vaccination program progresses, the population starts feeling, you know, safer and is able to venture out and think about working
for all of this.
The second is clarity about the internal restrictions. Clarity about what they need to do, and this is what we're trying to provide from ourselves,
and as you mentioned, the effect of Boris Johnson's announcement, very much pronounced in the U.K.
QUEST: Do you believe it could be a good year in terms of tourism? And related to that, how much damage -- how much is not going to come back? How
many restaurants, tavernas went out of business? How many resorts just weren't able to make it? Or do you think with the correct support that
you'll be able to give, most will come back?
THEOHARIS: Well, as far as Greece is concerned, I cannot really speak for our country, as you can imagine. As far as Greece is concerned, we saw that
the support that was given to the enterprises, to the employees as well, has worked.
We just announced today GDP figures for last year, and we haven't dropped - - a significant drop of 8.2 percent, but the consensus of economists was that the drop would have been 10 percent. That means that we have a sort of
-- it's an educated guess, if you like, but really based on reality that we will not have such a big number of enterprises closing down. But of course,
inevitably, some of them will.
Now as far as this year is concerned, it will certainly be a much better year than last year. We managed to open safely. We had a few discussions
last year about how we're going to do this. We managed to open safely. We managed the situation better than others.
I was speaking to the doctors today about the protocols of how we are going to open, and one of them told me that for example, in Crete in September,
in the full swing of the tourists, we had two-thirds of our R-rate, the disease rate, if you like than the rest of the country.
So we proved that tourism and the disease can go hand in hand. We have we can manage safely the epidemiological situation while we keep the borders
We're going to do the same thing this year as well.
QUEST: And is this a time for leadership in the industry? I know both at the U.N. W.T.O. and at the W.T.T.C., etc. and at the E.C. level,
policymakers, in my humble opinion didn't do a particularly good job, overall. There were isolated exceptions because I don't think Ministers, I
don't think countries and Ministers were prepared to come together with a common view.
Do you now think that Ministers, not the industry, Ministers are prepared to do that?
THEOHARIS: Well, I certainly hope so. It's sometimes -- you sometimes need a few voices of leadership. But the fact that when we voiced, when our
Prime Minister expressed the need for the vaccination certificate a few weeks back, and seeing the backlash, the negative reaction from some
quarters, even from the U.K., and then within a few days and a few weeks, we've seen everybody coming around to realizing that this is the only way
forward, I think that means that there is hope that we can come together and make those common decisions together.
I think it's good, both for the people of the industry and for citizens, you know, at large.
QUEST: Minister, as always, it is good to see you and I'll make the promise again, I'm looking forward to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS from the Greek
islands at the first available opportunity, when hopefully you'll join us there, sir.
THEOHARIS: You should be because you know, as far as tourism is concerned, Greece means business.
QUEST: Never miss the opportunity. That's what a Tourism Minister does. Good to see you, sir. Thank you.
Now, we'll have more about what travel looks like over the next couple of months on the next episode of "CNN Business Traveler." Here's what we've
got for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST (voice over): My recent trip from New York to Rwanda, and that involved the most complex set of travel rules, I had yet to navigate.
QUEST (on camera): Even to get into the airport, he wants to see my COVID test. There.
QUEST (voice over): Even when I know what's going to be required, the volume of documentation, it's overwhelming.
QUEST (on camera): First, the COVID test to leave the United States, the passenger locator form for going through Belgium, the sworn statement
allowing me to transit in Brussels.
The Rwanda passenger locator form, the COVID test to actually leave Rwanda. And that's before you've worried about visas, passport, and your wallet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So we're not just criticizing or commenting, but we've got some sound advice on how you can travel. "CNN Business Traveler," 5:30 Saturday
afternoon in London, 9:30 in the evening, 21:30 in Abu Dhabi.
As we continue, France has taken a stand in the escalating dispute between the E.U. and the vaccine manufacturer, AstraZeneca. Melissa Bell is in
Paris with us, just after the break.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. A lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue.
Chile's president is telling his country the country could achieve herd immunity towards the end of June.
And the battle lines are being drawn as E.U. leaders weigh whether to restrict more E.U.-made vaccines for being exported.
Before that, it's CNN. And on this network the facts and the news always first.
U.N. Security Council took up the crisis in Myanmar today as protesters once again braved a deadly crackdown to denounce the military coup.
Britain's U.N. ambassador says the Council will consider a statement on Myanmar next week. It's not expected to include an arms embargo or any
Pope Francis is in Iraq. It's a historic three-day visit. He had a brief meeting with the country's prime minister after he had arrived.
Later, the Pope visited our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad, the site of a 2010 massacre. On Saturday the Pope will meet with Iraq's most
influential cleric in the holy city of Najaf.
The U.S. and E.U. have agreed to suspend all tariffs linked to the Boeing Airbus dispute for four months. The E.U. says U.S. President Joe Biden
spoke on the phone to the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The tariffs effect more than $11 billion worth of exports.
France is showing solidarity with Italy over the vaccine row between the E.U. and AstraZeneca. The French health minister says his country may also
block vaccine shipments outside the E.U.
On Thursday, Italy stopped the export of vaccines from AstraZeneca to Australia citing the drug maker's failure to meet its commitment.
Melissa Bell is in Paris.
I've had a chance now to read more of what the Italians and indeed what the E.U. health commissioner says.
And they basically say this isn't about preventing Australia, it's about ensuring AstraZeneca lives up to its own contractual commitments to the
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Richard. When you look at that new rule that was created in January by the European Union,
the idea of that export ban, a mechanism. It really is for those companies that have contractual obligations with the E.U. that the E.U. feels they
have not lived up to.
So as Italy made clear after it announced that decision to block those 250,000 jabs, Richard, it was really also to say -- and they made it very
clear -- that this was about ensuring that Italy got all the vaccines that it was due.
With, as you say, the French health minister saying on French television that France may follow where Italy has led. And the European Commission
saying this afternoon through the shape -- through the mouth of its spokesman, Richard, that it was a sign to pharmaceutical companies that the
E.U. is being serious about this and that they need to live up to the agreements.
So really, the E.U. sticking by this. But you're right, an incredibly controversial policy and for the time being we have yet to hear exactly
what AstraZeneca has to say about it.
QUEST: Well, they say, of course, no, nothing of the sort. These were vaccines that were manufactured for Australia or for another client, and it
happens to be that the plant involved is in Italy.
The E.U. -- let's talk about how the vaccination's going on in France. Slow start --
BELL: Well --
QUEST: -- AstraZeneca not very popular because they -- Macron having told everybody it's not good over 65s can hardly turn round and say oh, no go
along, take it along, take it along.
BELL: And this, of course, to an already to a vaccine skeptical population, Richard. But you're right. And beyond the words of the French
president just a couple weeks ago, the national agencies of member state after member state deciding that the vaccine, there was not sufficient data
to suggest that the vaccine was good for people over 65. And that really caused blockages and a lot of European countries where already, as you say,
the vaccination rollout had been so slow.
Now that change of advice, of course, makes those AstraZeneca vaccines that Europe has so much more precious. And that is why, of course, they're at
the center of this row even as Europe struggles to get that vaccination program up and running.
And it isn't just, Richard, that people are not being vaccinated enough. It is that those COVID-19 figures here in Europe are worsening.
The World Health Organization says look, for six weeks they improved, now the number of new cases are rising again. They're particularly concerned
about eastern and central Europe.
And what you're seeing is restrictions having to grow once again. And that is, of course, the pressure that these European leaders are under.
They can see what's happening elsewhere, they can see that as a result of that attempt to get their vaccine procurement coordinated things have been
much slower than they should have. With those countries in Europe now splintering off.
You're seeing Denmark and Austria turning to Israel to look at their future vaccine procurement and countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary also now
going with the Russian, the Chinese vaccines, that have yet to be approved by the European Medicines Agency.
QUEST: Melissa, thank you. Have a good weekend. Thank you.
The head of the World Trade Organization told me on Monday she wants members to drop export restrictions on medicines and that hasn't stopped
the countries from enacting them.
The E.U. adopted export controls on COVID vaccines in January. Donald Trump signed an executive order in December that said vaccines made in America --
I think the crucial thing there, word there, made in America -- should go to Americans first.
The U.K. restricts the export of some hundred medicines that could be used to treat COVID patients. India's put controls on raw pharmaceutical
materials in the early days of the pandemic.
Moncef Slaoui led Operation Warp Speed under former President Trump. He's now the chief scientific officer at Centessa Pharmaceuticals. He joins me
from Philadelphia. Also, I may say looking extremely well, sir, now you're sort of -- Warp Speed is behind you.
Let's grasp this thorny nettle of vaccine protectionism.
It's inevitable, isn't it, that countries are going to not only hoard what they've got but to try to take what others may be wanting or needing or
MONCEF SLAOUI, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, CENTESSA PHARMACEUTICALS: Well, listen, Richard -- first, thanks for having me.
This, unfortunately, is the result of a slow start of commitments by Europe that made availability of vaccine doses be maybe six weeks, eight weeks
later than they have been, for instance, Israel or in the United States or a certain number of small countries. Number one.
Number two, overall we need 8 billion people to be vaccinated and we clearly only have a few hundred million doses at this stage. So such
tensions and pressures are to be.
The only way forward, frankly, is to design strategies whereby we can be better prepared for pandemics like this and where we can be producing
hundreds and hundreds of millions of doses much faster than we are today.
QUEST: When Warp Speed -- you were negotiating, I was reading an interesting article about your negotiations and how you priced it and the
various mechanisms by which they got so much money as long as it was successful.
But the idea of actually going out and contracting to buy them. Did you feel -- did you feel, sir, that it was a race to buy before somebody else
booked that slot?
SLAOUI: Frankly, at the time we didn't know. Because the essence of our strategy was to incent companies to discover, develop and manufacture the
vaccine. As an outcome of that we ended up with two types of agreement.
One, which was the agreement we had with Pfizer was to create a market opportunity if they were successful. They were taking the risk of investing
in the research process, we were committing to acquire the first 100 million doses.
For all the other agreements it was the other way around. The U.S. government took the research and development risk and financed either fully
or substantially fully all the cost of researching, developing and manufacturing the vaccine.
And as a consequence of that the first 100 million doses were going to be ours with certain options on more (phonetic). So at the time of the
agreements it wasn't yet a race for -- it preempted the race, frankly --
SLAOUI: -- and put the U.S. in the poll position.
QUEST: Tough to face this but the criticism of the vaccine rollout in the United States. I wonder whether it was inevitably just an oil tanker
starting slowly that was inevitably going to pick up speed after the administration changed.
Be honest, sir, do you see that the Biden Administration has made any changes that you think materially increased the supply of vaccines to
SLAOUI: Well, let me start by saying that what we're seeing today is exactly the plan that was put forward and that no one would expect that a
manufacturing process would be turned over so quickly so as in six or seven weeks you would see significant changes.
The changes we see today are exactly the kind of ramp up that was designed to happen and is happening. It doesn't mean to say what the administration
has implemented will not have significant results going forward.
I think in particular continuing to encourage partnerships, for instance between J&J and Merck for the fill finish, it was something that started
also under the other -- the former administration.
SLAOUI: It's very important. I think what the administration did the most was in mass vaccination campaigns sponsored by the federal government.
Which were not part of the strategy in the previous administration.
QUEST: Can I -- what do you take from your time in government? You were criticized, you sometimes were vilified. Your integrity had been questioned
on several occasions and yet at the same time you were also lionized and a hero because everyone realized you brought your GSK experience and arguably
held the thing together and got it done.
Now with the hindsight, the scars and the bruises and the plaudits, what do you take from it?
SLAOUI: Well, first, I would do it again in a heartbeat because this was neither about me nor about an administration, it was about the pandemic and
the people dying out of it. And I just felt compelled that it was impossible to try even if the outcome would had been failure, the key was
to try because it was plausible to have those vaccines.
I also -- frankly, I learned that politics is a field where the values I stand for are not always there and it's all about the message in the short-
term. And that's why I'm so happy I'm out of that world, I try to keep myself out of the politics.
There's a bigger message I take out of it, Richard. Which is that science, life sciences, research and academia in biotechnology companies, in
pharmaceutical companies, that ecosystem that exists is actually able to help save the world from this pandemic.
And that's super important and extremely rewarding for me personally to have been part of it, for the thousands and thousands that participated,
for the companies that put so much effort behind it. I'm so glad we were able to do it.
I just hope we're going to learn even more, after having done it once.
QUEST: And be ready for the next one, which I suspect you also believe will happen. Sir, thank you. I appreciate your time. It is kind of you to
join us. I appreciate it, sir. Thank you.
Joining us now -- and by the way, anybody watching the clock behind Moncef's face, it was set to a different time zone. That's not the time at
the moment. In Philadelphia, it's actually 3:43 at the moment.
I notice with a number of these things, you see it in the background, you think it -- (inaudible) anyway.
As we continue on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, Chile races ahead with an extremely rapid vaccine rollout. The president speaks exclusively to CNN next.
QUEST: Chile's president says he's hoping his country will achieve COVID- 19 herd immunity before the end of June.
Sebastian Pinera spoke exclusively to CNN's Julia Chatterley about the fast pace of Chile's vaccine rollout and why it's been so successful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN PINERA, PRESIDENT, CHILE: Well, the process of our vaccination is -- first of all it's voluntary, and it's absolutely free.
We have faced very little opposition. Because we put together a very strong information campaign to convince people that it was necessary, useful, safe
and efficient to get vaccinated.
But, basically, one of the key aspects that have made our case successful. First of all, that we started to negotiate the position of this vaccine
very early; April, May.
And at that time we were able to sign contracts or reach agreements that can guarantee us that we will have 36 million doses of the vaccines.
And second, because our health, our immunization program, is a very sound and solid one. Chile has always had a very sound health, public health,
And therefore, we have the vaccines and we have the capacity to distribute vaccines all over the country, to every corner of the country.
That's why we're vaccinating -- yesterday, we vaccinated more than 300,000 people in one day. And that's why we are really pushing this process
because we want to vaccinate our population as soon as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The president of Chile.
Hotel quarantines, half-empty flights. The new norm for pilots in pandemics. Several of them tell us what it's like to navigate national
restrictions. In a moment.
QUEST: Starting on Monday, people in the United Kingdom who want to go abroad will need to fill out a form declaring they're traveling for
A failure to do so could result in a 200 pound fine adding the U.K's requirement to stop people from skirting stay at home orders.
It's not only passengers, of course, that are forced to adapt to the new reality. Pilots flying the planes during pandemics are finding it's
challenging to say the very least.
DARRELL MYERS, PRESIDENT, LUXEMBOURG AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION (Voice Over): It's been at the very beginning I'd say going back a year ago in
March, (inaudible). There were moments where my company, we were the only airplanes in the sky when we saw the devastation hit the airline industry.
JASON VOUDRI, PILOT, AIR SENEGAL: So today's flight, I'll be flying from Dakar to Abidjan in Ivory Coast and I'll be coming back.
In the front in the cockpit we just make sure to wipe down everything every single time we switch crews. So for example, if today I'm taking over an
aircraft which another flight crew left, I'm going to get into the cockpit, make sure we have our masks on and we'll wipe down the thrust levers, the
instruments, the knobs, the switches, everything to make sure that we can actually start using the aircraft in a safe environment completely.
MEIDAN BARR, PILOT, IFALPA MEMBER (Voice Over): On a flight with no passengers you can really sometimes go out. The cabin is very quiet and you
actually see boxes on the passenger seats tied according to regulation.
BARR (On Camera): And when you know that your country is struggling with the pandemic and you're flying in medical equipment which is needed, that's
a really, really good feeling.
MYERS: Everything runs on the spectrum from being fairly open where you can still get out of a hotel room, you can walk around in the city although
be it social distancing and maintaining all the local regulations.
And it runs from that to where I am now, sitting in a hotel where I'm able and free to move around the hotel facilities however, unfortunately, unable
to use the gymnasium. And then we have other locations where it's an absolute room lock down where you're not able to leave the room.
A new regulation might pop up in a destination where they are now enforcing mandatory quarantines. Those in-room confinements, those quarantine rules
create a constant change effect that obviously has a bit of a destabilizing factor on our ability to just really plan for the future, sometimes
planning rest or even sometimes telling the family where we will be. So those challenges exist.
VOUDRI: It's a very introspective moment where you spend a lot of time by yourself and reflecting. So it's never easy in that type of situation,
especially when it's so out of your control.
I'm just grateful to be among the pilots who actually have a job right now as about 50 percent of people are unemployed.
BARR: Most of us are vaccinated but we're still tested and go back to a hotel with no room key, sometimes without a window.
This is not a standard that will move the economy and the aviation back in the air. Global standardization will have to be something that we will all
have to adopt. What is right in Tel Aviv will be even more in Chicago, in Delhi and Afghanistan.
MYERS: We should have something that does not press mandatory vaccinations but doesn't put us in the back of the line either.
If we are facing 2021 with the same level of -- the kaleidoscope of application of recommendations, it's just going to continue to make it
challenging for us to recover.
QUEST: Gosh, I'm glad we brought that to you tonight. Those people who are still flying and making sure that the cargo, the PPE, the repatriation
flights all continue.
Last few moments of trade on Wall Street. What a strange day, absolutely weird. Look at that.
And the reason I say it's weird is because when the market opened it had already seen, obviously, the job numbers so it knew what was happening. And
it chose to open up.
It then went down for some reason best known to itself, a weirdness of inflation problems -- not that there's any inflation. I see no inflation,
no ships today.
And then it roars up. Look at the Dow 30 and you see a see of green. Only Boeing -- don't worry about that, it was up yesterday. Goldman Sachs, same
It's a solid based, broad-based recovery or sea of green today. Oil prices are near a two-year high -- don't let's worry about that too much, that's a
sign of recovery as well.
And yields knocked on a bit as well because, of course, more jobs, faster growth, inflation.
I tell you I don't see any inflation, but we will have -- what I do see is a "Profitable Moment" after the break.
UNKNOWN: Tonight's "Profitable Moment". I was going to talk about inflation and interest rates and all that sort of stuff.
But no, instead let's stick with traffic -- with travel and tourism. Following up on that excellent report showing how pilots are just getting
on with the job, getting us our PPE, getting us to where we need to go in difficult circumstances.
And now we have a summer possibility. You heard tonight on the program from the Greek tourism minister.
I like the fact he doesn't call it a vaccine passport, he's insisting on the phrase vaccination certificate like the old yellow fever certificates
we all had in our passports, many of us still do.
I like that because it means having a vaccination certificate means you don't have to quarantine or have a negative test. But even if you've got a
negative test, you could still go on holiday in the summer of 2021.
It's not going to be easy. Look, I can tell you I've been on the road, I've traveled extensively over the last year. And it's not easy, it is tiring.
It is anxiety creating. But at the same time we're all going to get used to the changes.
And the pent-up demand is simply phenomenal. Ask yourself. Can you not wait to go on somewhere to go on holiday to go and visit? And that's why I think
we can all look forward to vaccination certificates.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.
I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable.
Look at that. Best part of two percent. Near the top of the day. The day is done.